The p143 gene from Autographa californica multinucleocapsid nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) has been found to increase the expression of luciferase, which is driven by the polyhedrin gene promoter, in a plasmid with virus coinfection. Further study indicated that this is due to the presence of a replication origin (ori) in the coding region of this gene. Transient DNA replication assays showed that a specific fragment of the p143 coding sequence, p143-3, underwent virus-dependent DNA replication in Spodoptera frugiperda IPLB-Sf-21 (Sf-21) cells. Deletion analysis of the p143-3 fragment showed that subfragment p143-3.2a contained the essential sequence of this putative ori. Sequence analysis of this region revealed a unique distribution of imperfect palindromes with high AT contents. No sequence homology or similarity between p143-3.2a and any other known ori was detected, suggesting that it is a novel baculovirus ori. Further study showed that the p143-3.2a ori can replicate more efficiently in infected Sf-21 cells than baculovirus homologous regions (hrs), the major baculovirus ori, or non-hr oris during virus replication. Previously, hr on its own was unable to replicate in mammalian cells, and for mammalian viral oris, viral proteins are generally required for their proper replication in host cells. However, the p143-3.2a ori was, surprisingly, found to function as an efficient ori in mammalian cells without the need for any viral proteins. We conclude that p143 contains a unique sequence that can function as an ori to enhance gene expression in not only insect cells but also mammalian cells.